Every year you carefully plan out your garden, what plants you are going to include, and the best spot to plant them. You spend hours every day tending to your garden, watering the plants when necessary, pulling weeds, all in eager anticipation of your harvest.
One day as you go out to tend to your plants, you notice a couple of ripe tomatoes ready for picking. If you are like most people, you choose those for eating. The first few days ripe tomatoes are few and far between, but then suddenly you have more than you can handle — this is where canning spaghetti sauce comes in handy.
One of the most significant benefits to learning how to can spaghetti sauce is how much better homemade spaghetti sauce tastes than the store-bought stuff. Canning spaghetti sauce not only uses up your overabundance of tomatoes, but it allows you to have canned spaghetti sauce on hand all year long.
No more worrying about running to the store the next time you want to whip up a spaghetti dinner! Homemade spaghetti sauce offers a rich flavor you can use in any recipe that calls for jarred spaghetti sauce.
The Best Ways to Can Spaghetti Sauce
If this is your first time making and canning homemade spaghetti sauce, you might notice that the equipment needed, and the process you follow, is quite similar to canning whole tomatoes.
Once you discover just how easy canning tomatoes and sauce is you will never go back to using canned tomatoes again.
How to Prepare Your Tomatoes
Start with about 18 pounds of tomatoes, which is roughly 60 tomatoes. You can use a single variety, or use a mixture of Romas with other types you may have in your garden. Once they are washed, start the peeling process.
One way to peel tomatoes is by dropping them into a pot of boiling water followed by dropping them into ice water. The boiling cracks the skin, while the cold water allows you to peel the skin off easily. This traditional peeling method is time-consuming, but it does work.
Broiling your tomatoes is a quicker way to peel them and works just as well. Cut each tomato in half and place on a sheet pan in a single layer. Place the sheet pan in the broiler until the skin starts to wrinkle.
Drain and Chop Your Tomatoes
Once peeled, toss tomatoes into a fine mesh colander for up to one hour to drain your tomatoes of excess liquid. To speed up draining, mash the tomatoes with your hands or press them with a spoon.
Next, chop the tomatoes. Everything can be chopped by hand, but a food processor makes things quicker. Depending on the size of your food processor, this may need to be done in batches.
Sterilize Your Equipment
One of the biggest concerns with canning recipes is bacteria. The soil you grew your tomatoes in has bacteria and your hands and kitchen are also home to many bacteria. Safe canning practices teach you to sterilize everything before you start to minimize the risk of bacteria exposure.
Wash all the jars, lids, funnel, and rings in hot water with mild dish soap. Place everything in boiling water for thirty minutes. Remove from the boiling water and set on a clean towel.
Make Homemade Tomato Sauce
Wash and core 40 pounds of fresh tomatoes. Cook tomatoes in a slow cooker until soft and allow to cool until they are warm to the touch. Use a food strainer to strain the skin and seeds from your sauce.
Dump tomato juice into a large pot and cook on low until thick. For each quart of sauce, you will need to add a ½ teaspoon of citric acid.
If you don’t have citric acid, use two tablespoons of lemon juice in its place. Pour into quart jars and process in a boiling water bath for forty minutes.
Prepare Your Spaghetti Sauce
Making spaghetti sauce varies depending on the recipe you use. We have included three of our favorite recipes, but you can always follow your own. If using a different recipe, make sure it is safe for canning or choose the appropriate canning method.
High acid foods like tomatoes can safely use a water bath canning process. Pressure canning is for low acid foods that need higher temperatures for food safety, such as spaghetti sauce with meat.
Canned Homemade Marinara Sauce
One of our favorite recipes to use when learning how to can spaghetti sauce without a pressure cooker is this homemade marinara sauce. There is no comparing this recipe with canned spaghetti sauce as the fresh garden produce brings out the flavor of this homemade sauce.
Add all ingredients but the lemon juice to an 8-quart pot. Stir well, place on medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Allow the pot to simmer for one hour, making sure to stir occasionally.
Remove and throw away bay leaves. Use an immersion blender to process sauce until smooth. The thickness of tomato chunks depends on your personal preference. You can also use a food processor.
Add two tablespoons of lemon juice to four sterilized quart size canning jars. Fill ½ inch from the top with hot spaghetti sauce. Wipe each rim with a clean cloth and secure with canning lids and rings.
Use a water bath or a steam bath canner to process the spaghetti sauce for forty minutes. If you live between 1,001 to 3,000 feet, add five minutes to the processing time. Elevations higher than 3,000 feet must use a water bath canner, as steam bath canners should not process canning jars past 45 minutes.
Remove quart jars from steam or water bath and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, check each lid to ensure the jar seals correctly. To check, press the top of each canning lid; it should be firm. If the cap bubbles up and down, it isn’t sealed. Either re-process the spaghetti sauce or refrigerate.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
Pressure canning spaghetti sauce is necessary when adding meat to the recipe. Process times vary based on the style of pressure cooker you use and the altitude where you live.
Wash the tomatoes and dip them in boiling water until the skins split. Dip in cold water and remove skins. Core the tomatoes and cut into quarters.
Place them inside a large, uncovered saucepan and boil for twenty minutes. Run through a sieve or food mill.
Brown the meat and drain off excess grease. Saute onions, mushrooms, garlic, and celery with the beef until vegetables are tender. Add meat and vegetables to the tomato mixture.
Stir in spices, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the spaghetti sauce reaches a boil, reduce heat to low, simmer until thickened and ready to serve. Volume should be cut in half by this point.
Turn off heat and fill either pint or quart size hot jars with sauce. Leave about one-inch headspace in each jar — close jars with canning lids and rings. If using a dial-gauge pressure canner, PSI will range from 11 to 14 lbs based on your altitude. Process times for pints are 60 minutes, while quarts are 70 minutes. A weighted-gauge pressure canner follows the same process time but uses 10 PSI for 1,000 feet and below or 15 PSI above 1,000 feet.
Home Canning Pasta Sauce
This spaghetti sauce recipe for canning is slow-roasted to bring out the various flavors of the ingredients in the sauce. To clean your tomatoes, soak them in an equal amount of water and vinegar for 15 minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Cut tomatoes into chunks and quarter the onions. Add tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to an aluminum roasting pan. Drizzle ingredients with olive oil and toss together. Roast inside a 425°F oven for five hours, stirring every thirty minutes.
Remove aluminum pan from oven and allow to cool for an hour. Use a blender or food processor to process small batches of the roasted mixtures. Pulse the blender based on how thick or smooth you want your tomato sauce.
To can this recipe you will need 15-pint jars, as the recipe makes 14.5 pints. This spaghetti sauce recipe for canning is also Paleo or Whole-30 friendly, just eliminate the red wine, and reduce cooking time by 30 to 60 minutes.
Thanks for reading our canning tips for homemade spaghetti sauce. If you found our canning spaghetti sauce tips or recipes helpful, take a minute to share our canned spaghetti sauce ideas on Facebook and Pinterest.